O.J. Simpson unanimously granted parole by Nevada board

By Andrew V. Pestano and Eric DuVall   |   July 20, 2017 at 9:57 AM
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July 20 (UPI) -- Members from the Nevada Board of Parole on Thursday voted unanimously to grant O.J. Simpson parole for his armed robbery conviction after serving 9 years of a potential 33-year sentence.

Simpson, 70, has been imprisoned at the Lovelock Correctional Center since his armed robbery and kidnapping conviction related to some of his football memorabilia.

The hearing received wall-to-wall coverage on news stations and the Internet.

During the nearly two-hour proceeding, Simpson deflected blame for the incident that led to his conviction, but also expressed remorse for the decisions that led to the jury's verdict.

The former athlete and actor's conviction stemmed from a September 2007 armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel, where Simpson went with a group of associates to retrieve some of his own personal sports memorabilia that he said had been stolen from him in the 1990s. Members of Simpson's entourage pulled guns on the men who had the merchandise, though some of what was taken was legitimately Simpson's property, investigators said. Much of the incident was recorded.

"I haven't made any excuses in the nine years I've been here and I'm not making excuses now," Simpson said at one point, later adding: "I should have never allowed these alleged security guys to help me when they were only trying to help themselves."

Simpson's imprisonment happened more than a decade after his scandalous acquittal in the brutal 1994 knife killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman at her Bundy Drive condominium in west Los Angeles.

Simpson -- a star player at the University of Southern California in the 1960s and one of the NFL's best running backs in the 1970s for the Buffalo Bills -- was a highly popular figure prior to the killings, owing to a number of appearances in television and films, including The Towering Inferno (1974) and The Naked Gun trilogy. For years, he was also a main pitchman for Hertz rent-a-car.

Debate over Simpson's role in the double murder has continued since his 1995 acquittal. Thursday, former Los Angeles prosecutor Christopher Darden encouraged the former athlete to confess what he did.

"Admit your sins," he advised on NBC's Today show. "We have yet to extract from him the punishment that he deserves. ... Justice ain't killing two people and butchering two people and getting away from it."

If the board grants Simpson parole, he would be released from prison on Oct. 1.

"If you are really reformed and rehabilitated, if you are really remorseful, if you are really a born-again Christian, then let's move this discussion forward," Darden said, noting he would like the parole board to ask Simpson if he's guilty of the murders.

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